‘Water only’ baptism vs. ‘water and the Holy Spirit’ Baptism.

Baptism by Aztec West

‘Water only’ baptism is the same baptism that John the Baptist used, and it is still used by many churches today.

‘Water accompanied by the Word’ Baptism is the Baptism that we use because it is the Baptism that contains Jesus Himself.


Pastor Mark shows us the differences in those baptisms in his 3rd Sunday in Advent sermon (below): 



Baptism Service by Michael Sarver



  Infant baptism by matildahellgren




click >Water only baptism vs. Water and the Holy Spirit Baptism



Thanks, Pastor Mark.

And thanks to flicker and Aztec West, Michael Sarver, and matildahellgren, for the photos.

How can we know God’s will with respect to what we pray for?

Praying-Hands by johnhanscom

It’s not always easy to know.


Listen in on the second midweek Advent sermon as Pastor Mark speaks about prayer and God’s will for us:







click > How can we know God’s will with respect to what we pray for?



Thanks to Pastor Mark Anderson of Lutheran Church of the Master, Corona del Mar, CA http://www.lightofthemaster.com/
And thanks to flickr and johnhanscom, for the photo.

‘Why Jesus? And why NOT the teaching Jesus’ – A good class for family, or for friends…even Baptist/Calvinists and non-denominational types who are ascending the ladder…

Noah tried to tell them... by Waiting For The Word

Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by fotofacade

Also, it’s very good for Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Pentecostals, and Episcopalians…and anyone else who might get the urge to take matters into their own hands and rise above their created status.

   “Why Jesus?” Using Romans and the Old Testament, Pastor Marks unpacks some of the intricacies in familiar stories of the Bible.

Well worth a listen, and forwarding on to folks who may not have heard these perspectives before.





click here > Why Jesus and why not the teaching Jesus?




Thanks Pastor Mark, and thanks to flickr and fotofacade and Waiting for the Word, for the photos.


Jesus did not come to be our life coach

thomastornado20 by crgazetteDid Jesus come to whip us into shape?

Did Jesus come that we could be winners in this world?

Did Jesus come to tune us up, and make us better?




   click here > Jesus did not come to be our life coach



Thanks Pastor Mark.
Thanks to flickr and crgazette, for the photo.

Gerhard Forde got out of Biblicism; you can too – #13

From CrossAlone Lutheran  District  http://crossalone.us/?p=1592


The Bible says: “Repent and believe in the gospel.”[1] Does that mean that Forde was wrong? Does that mean that salvation is mostly God’s doing and partly ours?

Forde writes:

“‘We have to do something, don’t we?’ – that is the pious sounding cry. Rather than face the question of death and life, we hope to get by with a little something! As Luther remarked, this kind of semi-Pelagianism is worse than full-blown Pelagianism.”[2]

Luther knew that one could use a text like Mark 1:15 against Christ, that is, in favor of saying salvation is 99% what Christ does and 1% what we do – repent and believe.

As Luther points out again and again, infants have faith, which is no surprise because in baptism God snatches us[3] in spite of ourselves.

[1]Mark 1:15.


[2] Gerhard Forde, Theology is for Proclamation (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990) 142; emphasis added. See also Forde: “It is interesting – and significant – that Luther could see much more validity in out-right Pelagianism than he could in semi-Pelagianism of the so-called Christian humanists. At least, he said, the Pelagians believed that man could and should apply himself with his whole being to the pursuit of salvation, where the semi-Pelagians seem to think it could be gained for a pittance – exercising that little bit of ability supposedly left in man,” in Where God Meets Man, p. 51 by Forde; italics in the text; bolding added.

Luther: “These friends of ours, however, though they believe and teach the same, make dupes of us with deceptive words and a false pretense, as if they dissented from the Pelagians, though this is the last thing they do; so that if you go by their hypocrisy, they seem to be the bitterest foes of the Pelagians, while if you look at the facts and their real opinion, they themselves are Pelagians double-dyed” (LW 35:328).

[3] See Luther: “[E]ven if infants did not believe – which, however, is not the case, as we have proved – still their Baptism would be valid and no one should rebaptize them…” Large Catechism, Baptism, #55, BC 443.

In baptism the infant receives the Holy Spirit (SC, Baptism #10, BC 349), who, of course, cannot be quantified as if the infant only receives a portion of the Holy Spirit or a kick-start. Nor, again of course, does baptism depend on a “decision” made by the infant. Some also misunderstand the metaphor “gift” (e.g., Romans 3:24) to imply that what God does in baptism is a “gift” that has to be “accepted” even though the context (Romans 3:19-23) does not allow such a misunderstanding.

“[W]hat a great and excellent thing Baptism is, which snatches us from the jaws of the devil…” LC, Baptism, #83; BC 446, emphasis added.

“I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him” Small Catechism, Creed, Third Article, #6; BC 345.

See also John 6:44: “No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” And John 6:65, 15:16, Eph 1:4







A great Advent quote from Bonhoeffer

 Bonhoeffer by deponePastor Mark’s midweek Advent sermon. It’s fairly short (under 12 min.), but a good counter to the hustle and bustle that often takes over our lives.




click here > Midweek Advent Sermon #1


Thanks, Pastor Mark.
And thanks to flickr and depone, for the photo.